Pay Attention To Who Wins, And How They Win

Crossposted with The 74’s education live blog, where I will be tonight.

Who wins elections is what matters most, but how they win is important, too. It tells us things about the mood of the country, demographic trends, and how elected officials might govern as they think about future electoral coalitions.

This year there is some evidence in the polls that President Trump may have, surprisingly, increased his support among Black and Hispanic voters, at the margins or perhaps more. We won’t know for some time and in terms of the outcome, any inroads he makes seem likely to be offset by substantial erosion of his support among seniors and college educated voters. Still, it’s worth watching because in a tight election every vote counts – as Democrats learned in Florida in 2018 in the governor’s race where school choice might have made a difference at the margins. Some key swing states could be tight this year and Florida will offer early signals about what’s going on.

Even small changes might matter going forward in our part of the world – education. The median Black voter is, for instance, to the political right of the median white Democratic voter. You see this on a range of issues and it shows up on school choice as well, where Black Americans are more likely to support choice plans than whites and especially progressive whites. The two-party system constrains electoral choices, but that doesn’t mean preferences are not there.

It’s one way that even though education wasn’t much of an issue in the national races this year with everything else going on, the outcome might nonetheless affect education and education politics. That’s especially true if President Trump is not reelected and the Republican 2024 primary starts soon with school choice as a popular policy.

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